I imagine that plenty of people knew the answer to yesterday’s mystery – Upper Gordon Road. This block is right next door and has the unmistakable look of the 1960s – flat roof, minimum of extra detailing, and severe fenestration.
Gordon Road and Avenue were named after a British Victorian hero – General Gordon, (for more on the General see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_George_Gordon) butit seems more likely that the impetus for the development was the successful arrival of the railway in the town. By 1880 the roadway had been constructed by local landowner, Captain Knight, from the junction with West Street to Gordon Crescent. The finally stretch – Gordon Avenue – was not added until some time later. The addition of Garfield, Firlands and Heathcote Roads (as well as Park Street, of course) meant that the whole area could be neatly divided up into building plots. Between Gordon Road and Park Road the plots were 2-3 acres but between Gordon Road and the railway the plots were smaller and sold for more ‘middle-class’ homes.
Captain Knight did not build any of the houses himself but sold, I gather, all the southern plots, in 1884 to Mr Thomas Boys, a man who really deserves an entire week of posts on his own account. For the moment, I will just add that he owned the Collingwood Park Estate, and was a wealthy London Wine Merchant as well as land and property speculator. Somewhat later, the builder William Watson bought the northern plots on the railway side.
Most of the houses in Upper and Middle Gordon Road were built by William Watson who had his yard there. Many properties were built specifically to be sold or rented to military personnel and their families from the RMA and the Staff College. It was not until the 1950 that the first married officers quarters were built by the Army near Barossa common for those attending the Staff College courses, so there was a regular yearly demand for lettings.
There were four builders’ yards in the Gordon Road area altogether – I can remember when Spear & Kings were re-developed into an elegant row of town houses not far from the Camberley Spiritualist church. Their yard was at Devonshire House and Frank Bath had his at Durleston. There was also Mark Jacobs, whose father had built Belmonst Mews.